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Study ‘Reveals’ We Are, Basically, Slugs

Researchers wanted to find out how potential patients felt about doctors’ advice on how to treat, or avoid, high blood pressure. So they asked people how they would prefer to control their high blood pressure, or the risk of same. The results didn’t surprise me. But I’m surprised the researchers were surprised…

When your blood pressure starts to escalate, you have, basically,
four options to control it. Which would you choose?

It was no surprise to me that a resounding majority of those who filled out the survey chose taking a pill or drinking a cup of tea over exercising regularly or taking a shot to achieve the same goal – lengthening their lives.

The raw results, after tabulation, were as follows:

  • 79 percent of respondents said they would be willing to take a pill for an extra month of life, 90 percent would for an extra year of life and 96 percent would for an extra five years of life;
  • 78 percent said they would drink a daily cup of tea for one extra month of life, 91 percent would for one extra year of life and 96 percent would drink it for an extra five years of life;
  • 63 percent would be willing to exercise for an extra month of life, 84 percent would for an extra year of life and 93 percent would exercise if it meant an extra five years of life;
  • A shot was the least preferred of the options – 68 percent would take a shot every six months if it would give them an extra month of life, 85 percent would do it for an extra year of life and 93 percent would be willing if it gave them another five years, but only about half (51 percent) would take a monthly shot for an extra month of life, 74 percent would for an extra year and 88 percent would opt for an injection every month if it gave them five extra years of life.

See what I mean? I could have told them what they’d ‘find’ and saved them a lot of trouble.

A pill is the option most folks are offered by their physician when their blood pressure starts to escalate. Most of us do what their doctor says. I do.

Tea. Some folks just don’t like tea. For them, recent reports from the scientific sphere indicate that Coffee, too, contains beneficial anti-oxidants that can boost cardio health. I also attribute tea’s high placement in the preferences of potential high blood pressure patients to the fact that it’s easy and you can drink it sitting down.

Exercise? Too much effort. Too much trouble. Takes too much time. Other surveys have already confirmed that a majority of folks see exercise as a nuisance, or a time sucker. Unless, that is, exercise – workout or walking the dog – is already integrated into your daily routine. Then, exercise becomes the primary choice for promoting cardio health.

I don’t mind taking a shot, now and then. I’m old enough to have had many flu shots , vaccinations and other piercings and I’m used to the idea. I’ve also undergone an increasing number of blood-lettings for clinical tests as I’ve grown older. But younger people could be expected to be less sanguine (pun intended) about shots than I am. Just the thought of having to get one makes some folks woozy.

The researchers say…

“Our findings demonstrate that people naturally assign different weights to the pluses and minuses of interventions to improve cardiovascular health,” said Erica Spatz, M.D., M.H.S., the study lead author and an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine in the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT. “I believe we need to tap into this framework when we are talking with patients about options to manage their blood pressure. We are good about discussing side effects, but rarely do we find out if other inconveniences or burdens may be impacting a person’s willingness to take a lifelong medication or to exercise regularly.”

Thank you, Dr. Obvious!

~ Maggie J.